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Effects of salinity and sea salt type on egg activation, fertilization, buoyancy and early embryology of European eel, Anguilla anguilla

Sørensen, Sune Riis, Butts, Ian Anthony Ernest, Munk, Peter, Tomkiewicz, Jonna
Zygote 2016 v.24 no.1 pp. 121-138
Anguilla anguilla, cell cleavage, chorion, diameter, eel, embryology, females, fish eggs, hatching, salinity, seawater, sodium chloride
Improper activation and swelling of in vitro produced eggs of European eel, Anguilla anguilla, has been shown to negatively affect embryonic development and hatching. We investigated this phenomenon by examining the effects of salinity and sea salt type on egg dimensions, cell cleavage patterns and egg buoyancy. Egg diameter after activation, using natural seawater adjusted to different salinities, varied among female eels, but no consistent pattern emerged. Activation salinities between 30–40 practical salinity unit (psu) produced higher quality eggs and generally larger egg diameters. Chorion diameters reached maximal values of 1642 ± 8 μm at 35 psu. A positive relationship was found between egg neutral buoyancy and activation salinity. Nine salt types were investigated as activation and incubation media. Five of these types induced a substantial perivitelline space (PVS), leading to large egg sizes, while the remaining four salt types resulted in smaller eggs. All salt types except NaCl treatments led to high fertilization rates and had no effect on fertilization success as well as egg neutral buoyancies at 7 h post-fertilization. The study points to the importance of considering ionic composition of the media when rearing fish eggs and further studies are encouraged.